Ok, if you have read the post titled “Fit as a Fiddle” then you have all the background you need before reading this post. For those of you who have not, here is a very brief synopsis:
“Being a very active racquet sports enthusiast I managed to knock myself out on court one evening in early 2010. As a result I ended up in Hospital for a few hours getting all the necessary checks and tests. Of course one of the checks was blood pressure which was invariably high. The powers that be at the Hospital did not think much of this but did recommend I make a follow-up appointment with my GP who would monitor me to make sure there were no longer term issues as a result of the knock. A week later I found myself sitting in a Doctors Examination room. Having had to abstain from physical exercise for over a week I was keen to get the “Fit as a Fiddle” prognosis from the good Doc but alas it was not to be. My Blood Pressure was high and the Doc wanted me back a week later for another check-up. After leaving the Surgery I sat in the car and started thinking…”
Thinking about all the snippets of overheard conversations from childhood between my Mother and Grandmother. Routine discussions about their mutual health afflictions were common place. Blood Pressure being the most commonly discussed affliction there was in our house. I always remember thinking as a kid if only there was a wee valve somewhere which could be used to release the pressure then everything would be fine. But of course there wasn’t! I can still picture them now popping away at prescription pills in an ongoing battle to cure themselves. It never did cross my mind either as a child or an adult, that there could be a connection between their Hypertension and me. It was only now that I had started to join the dots in my head… I must have sat there for over an hour pondering my thoughts before I realised it was high time I got myself home. On the way back I decided it was better to come clean and admit to my better half that the checkup did not go as well as I had hoped. I also resigned myself to another week of exercise abstinence.
Over the course of the following week I started to use all that spare time to research Blood Pressure or Hypertension as it is perhaps more commonly known. What particularly shocked me were the long term implications of leaving the condition untreated. Point to note: I plan to dedicate a full blog spot on this topic but for now, suffice to say that life expectancy and quality of life can be significantly impacted. Perhaps even more shockingly it became clear that there is a significant part of the population out there who do not even know they are at risk. Blood Pressure truly can be a silent killer!
The week flew in and before I knew it I was back sitting in the cute doctors Surgery having my blood pressure checked. This time the results were even less favourable, 165 over 102.
In the UK, the medical profession does not diagnose an individual as suffering from Hypertension until they have taken 3 initial high readings and confirmed them by running a 24 hour BP monitor. In my case I had now clocked up my second high reading in as many weeks and even before the Doc told me she wanted me back for a third check I had resigned myself to the inevitable. It was at that point she threw me a curve ball. She pondered for a while before suggesting that I was perhaps suffering from White Collar Syndrome. Christ above I thought, that sounds a hell of a lot more serious than High blood Pressure. Before I could make a complete clown of myself she explained that “White Collar Syndrome” was a term given to individuals whose BP climbed significantly when attending a Doctors Surgery. That could explain it I thought, Doctors Surgery, Cute Junior Doctor I was cured. Fit as a Fiddle I am… But before I got much further in my minds delight she told me I still needed to come back for a third reading the following week… Crap I thought, so I pleaded with her to at least give me the all clear to start exercising again. That she did and off I went happy in the knowledge I was back in the saddle with a dammed good explanation for why the fiddle was perhaps a little out of tune for the past few weeks. Good old “White Coat” I thought and of I went home with a good story for my good wife. Or at least I thought I had!